Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seeing Palm Canyon 113008

After leaving the entrance kiosk, we drove a couple of miles on a very narrow road up to the trading post and Palm Canyon. Palm Canyon is at the end of Highway 111, Palm Canyon Drive. There is a parking lot there and we could see the cars sparkling when we were driving up to it. From this spot, it is 15 miles up to the Cahuilla Indians' winter grounds in the oak trees on Highway 74. They still retain that land today. My friend Barbara, who lives up in the mountains, takes her horses and rides partway down the trail which leads down into Palm Canyon. Here are some pics of our first view of the palm trees. I was much more cautious about where I was walking after reading the sign!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Indian canyons, Palm Springs, CA Nov 29, 2008

Over the next few days, I'm going to take you through the Indian canyons in south Palm Springs. There are actually 3 of them at the end of Palm Canyon Drive: Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. We didn't make it to Murray Canyon, but we did hike down Palm Canyon and stop at Andreas Canyon. So, today we start with the south side of Palm Canyon Drive and head up to the Indian canyons. As you can see, it was snowing on top of the mountains and it was misting a bit, but we went anyway as the turkey was in the oven and we had all afternoon to take photos! There are two things about taking photos on a cloudy day. First, you get the contrast of the clouds and our blue sky. Second, I LOVE the earthy smell after a rain in the desert. You can smell all the desert plants and the earth itself gives off a wonderful smell. The creosote bushes, which the Indians used for medicinal purposes, have a sharp odor that drifts over the area. Hmmmmm.......!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Skywatch Friday November 28, 2008

We had a winter storm here in our desert this week. We finally got our first rain of the season, yesterday and Wednesday. Rain was desperately needed here in the desert and I awoke Wednesday morning at 3:00 a.m. to hear it dripping off my roof onto our bedroom patio. That morning, I went outside and cast my California poppy seeds and African daisy seeds onto a bare spot in my front yard. I also went over to our daughter's apartment in Palm Springs to help her prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. The clouds around the mountains were so pretty, I drove out to the Indian canyons which are at the end of Palm Canyon Drive, in south Palm Springs. The sun was peeking between some of the clouds and I tried to wait for a good shot. The clouds were moving quickly and the light was shifting, but I was able to capture this photo. Aren't the mountains magical?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! November 27, 2008

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family today! I'm hopeful we can go see our horses today (it's still dark and I can't tell what our desert weather is like), but if we don't, I would like to drive out to the Indian canyons this afternoon while the turkey is cooking and take some photos. I drove out there yesterday when the sky cleared just a little bit and I was struck by their majesty and power. The Cahuilla Indians spent their winters in those canyons and during summer, they moved up into the oak groves on them. You know, I've lived in our desert now for over 30 years and I'm ashamed to say I've never visited the Indian canyons. Hubby used to ditch school in high school and go there, but I've never been. Maybe today?

Have a wonderful day with your friends and family and thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We have RAIN! November 26, 3008

I woke up this morning at 3:00 a.m. to the drip, drip, drip of rain. I always hear it dripping off our roof onto our bedroom patio. Of course, once I was up, the dogs wanted to go outside. Our little lab LOVES the water and she doesn't mind getting wet, but our son's Weimeraner hates water and can't WAIT to get back inside. Our German Shepherd didn't even get off his chair. He's pretty good about "holding it in". He'll go out later, maybe between rain storms.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

rain forecast~ November 25, 2008

Our first rainfall is on the way! I'm excited because I threw out some California poppy seeds and African daisies and they haven't sprouted yet. They always seem to sprout when we have our first natural rainfall. I've sprinkled them with the hose and....NOTHING! Not one sprout has come up~ Anyway, apparently we not only have a storm coming in from the west, but also "tropical moisture". That means moisture coming up from Mexico and the Gulf of California. We NEED the rain here in our desert. As the cold fronts come through, snow is forecast for about 6,500 feet. My horses are at 4,000 feet and last winter they did get some snow, but it looks like this week it will be just rain, rain, and more rain.
But I'm happy that my tomatoes, beans, snap peas, and sweet peas are growing. Here's a couple of pics of them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Idyllwild, Sunday November 24, 2008

We drove up to Idyllwild, again, for lunch yesterday. We took Claudia with us and ate lunch at the Bread Basket. It is a small bakery/restaurant in Idyllwild, CA, up in the pine trees. Awwwww.....the smell of the bakery was intoxicating! It was so relaxing up there! After lunch we wandered around the stores and I took a few photos. Most of the stores are already decorated for Christmas. I found some cute tree ornaments for 50% off. Each one is a little bell with a different colored horse head on it, so I bought for each of my horses!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More mountain lion pics~! Saturday, November 22, 2008

I was going through all my photos last night, deleting some that weren't in focus or that were too bright, and I came across this file. I usually (now...finally!) put the date and what each file is about, but this one, for some reason, only had a number on it and I didn't remember what the number stood for. Do any of you have that problem? Anyway, as I went through it, I realized it had some old photos (not too old) of one of our visits to the Living Desert Reserve and the two mountains lions, Reno and the female. Here they are in a quiet, restful mode and I though I'd share them with you! They did have their quiet moments together. Unfortunately, Reno also bit the female and she had her leg in a bandage for quite some time. I miss Reno!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Late afternoon, Canyon de Chelley SKYWATCH Friday November 21, 2008

When we arrived at Canyon de Chelly this past autumn, it was monsoon season in high gear! This was an afternoon storm that was overhead. That night there was a terrific thunderstorm!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Autumn color November 20 2008

See how autumn has changed the trees at the ranch? They are now red. I love autumn!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Full moon and hawk Nov 17 2008

While driving up the mountain Saturday morning, I pulled off and drove up a dirt road. There was a full moon and on top of one of the rocks was a hawk. Of course, he immediately flew off when I got out of my car. It was a crystal clear morning and I could look all the way down into the Coachella Valley.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Santa Ana winds November 16 2008

As a Native Californian, I grew up with the Santa Anas. We never called them, "Santa Ana winds", but just "Santa Anas". Everyone knew what we meant. Usually our winds blow west to east, but the Santa Anas reverse direction and come barreling down from the high desert to the ocean. They make us all uneasy. They usually are hot winds and they sweep down canyons at tremendous speed. I just heard that 5 people have been arrested related to the fires. I have witnessed the result of fires burning due to Santa Anas my entire life and it is horrible. My own San Gabriel mountains nearly burned down when I was a teenager, the result of Santa Anas. And cities like Malibu, Corona, Chino Hills, Monrovia, and Anaheim Hills have been burned before from Santa Ana fires. My aunt and uncle, in their 80's, were a block away from the San Diego fires last year. Like earthquakes, they are one of the hazards of living in our southern California desert. Please say a prayer for all the families that have lost their homes in these latest fires.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Geckos gone!

My little nighttime friends, the two geckos, are gone. I guess it is too cold for them? They were my nightly companions during the summer. They ate the bugs and moths that gathered on my window, outside where I sit in the kitchen at my computer. I miss them, but I hope I'll see some again next summer. These are not my pics...I never got a photo of them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The end of a day SKYWATCH Friday Nov 14 2008

After our first mountain snowfall this past weekend, I went out in the late afternoon and saw this whispy cloud over the mountains to the south, where I board my horses. To see other incredible photos, please visit SKYWATCH at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Watery Wednesday Nov 12 2008

I took this photo at my local park this weekend, as the clouds were gathering for our weekend storm. I woke up at 5:30 and I got to the park just as the sun was rising. It was very peaceful there and only a few people were out walking their dogs. The ducks were out on land sunning themselves and a flock of pigeons was flying around the park.

More stormy weather

This is another view of the coming storm from the weekend November 9 and 10. Notice how the pass fills up with clouds? That's because on one side there is a 10,000 foot mountain and on the other side, there is an 11,000 foot mountain. That tends to bottleneck the clouds, as you can see from the photo! We truly are a desert because the pass blocks the clouds and they seldom get over the mountains to our southwest. Sometimes they do, however, especially during our rainy season, from October through May. During the summer, we get the monsoons up from Mexico during July and August. NO mountains to block those, especially if they come up from the Gulf of California.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The gathering storm and first snowfall Nov. 10, 2008

When I awoke yesterday morning, I knew a snow storm was coming. First, it was chilly. Second, when the clouds hang on the mountains like they were doing, it only means that more are piled up behind them and they would eventually "spill over" into the Coachella Valley. I took the bottom pics early that morning. I watched the clouds and by the time I went to urgent care, at 9:00 a.m., the pass was FULL of clouds and I could see a rainbow. Clouds were moving down the pass, OVER the top of the mountains, and the temperature on the valley floor was falling. YUP. First snowfall! When I go out to the dentist later, I'll stop and get some pics of our first snowfall of the season.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scenic Sunday November 9, 2008

I've lived in Palm Desert now for over 30 years and I have very few photos of my town! I think it is because I don't work here. My school is 25 miles away. But that's still no excuse! So, on this bright, crisp, and cool morning, I drove down to the city park and took some photos. Our park here is very beautiful. There is an ampitheater for concerts in the park and during the summers there are weekly concerts and movie nights. The Marine Corps band plays there as well as the middle school and high school bands. There is modern equipment for the kids to play on and soft shavings beneath them in case of "hard landings". The park is kept absolutely IMMACULATE by the city crews who start as soon as the sun rises EVERY morning (Sundays included!). There were very few people at the park at 6:30 a.m. this morning, mostly a few early birds, like me, and they were out walking their dogs. When I was able to walk, I did walk around the park in the mornings and that took me about 35 minutes. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that again once my back heals. I took this photo at the park early this morning.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mountain trees 110908

After we drove into Idyllwild last weekend, I stopped in Garner Valley to take this photo. While our mountains don't have aspen, they do have birch and cottonwoods. Both are pretty right now. We don't always have time to drive into Idyllwild, so I am thankful that we did so last weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Skywatch for Friday, November 7, 2008

When I walked out to get the newspaper one morning this week, I started to see the beginning of a beautiful, pastel, then vivid sunrise. I ran inside and grabbed my camera and took this photo looking down my street. I love the palm trees. Aren't they pretty? For other beautiful SKYWATCH pics, go to: